This week – for the first non-month round-up in a while – I’m looking at bands mentioning other bands or artists. Or lots of them in one song, in more than one case. There were quite a few more that I couldn’t include, and I’d be interested to hear other suggestions for this.
One of the most enduring alternative songs of the 90s – mainly for it’s glorious throwback of a video (courtesy of Spike Jonze and Happy Days) – that video sometimes overshadows just how fantastic a pop song this was (even if it perhaps became a bit of a millstone for the band in the end). And, of course, it references a resemblance to a certain famous 50s pop star…
Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above
Cansei de Ser Sexy
Mainly I’m featuring this ‘cos DFA1979 are awesome (and they probably got a bigger boost from this song that CSS did, in the end), but as a bit of indie hero worship, this takes some topping. CSS became festival favourites for a while after this album, and more particularly this exuberant, indie-dance-funk workout, but seemed to struggle to even come close to topping the heights of this. In the meantime, DFA1979 split and then recently reformed.
40oz. to Freedom
A bit of hero worship, perhaps, here, as the much-missed (in my world, anyway) Sublime provide an acoustic tribute to one of the more thoughtful and cerebral rappers, the lyrics suggesting Bradley Nowell learned an awful lot from the rapper’s songs – indeed, more than he did at school. Anyway, this track is also notable for it’s coming together of acoustic guitar, scratching and sampling. Some way from the more reggae-influenced ska that the band made their name with, that’s for sure.
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
James Murphy’s dance-indie crossover was a big critical success from the start, and hearing joyous, party-starting songs like this it isn’t hard to see why. But then, a song that suggests the one of the greatest dance acts of the age playing live in your living room could only be joyous, right? This wasn’t the only LCD song referencing other bands, either – see also the (equally brilliant) hipster-skewering Losing My Edge.
Mix this Song into A23’s ‘Maps of Reality’
Let’s get one thing straight first – The Gothsicles are one of those bands that will likely make no sense whatsoever to anyone outside the industrial scene, as they are the band nowadays we look to in taking the piss out of the various po-faced elements of the “scene” – something we realised was absolutely spot-on when they first played Infest, as quite a number of the crowd missed the joke. Anyway, this track is one of a number referencing (and taking the piss!) out of bands they have worked with, and here cleverly incorporates the song that they are singing about (while poking fun at industrial DJs “beat matching” songs with utterly identical structures). Bonus points also to Tom Shear for being a good sport and featuring on the song – oh, and then remixing it too!
29 x The Pain
I have to confess that I never quite got into The Wildhearts like many of my friends, although I’ve always had a passing love of some of their songs, at least. And this is one of those heartfelt songs that is hard to dislike – a tribute to all of the bands that Ginger and his band have been influenced along the way, and some of them are more unexpected than others! Personally I prefer the A-side this comes from (the blisteringly-paced Suckerpunch), but that doesn’t have the references for this…
Two Of The Beatles Are Dead
Fuck You! I’m Keith Top Of The Pops
Let’s move onto a minor indie allstar, in the form of the marvellously sneering Keith TOTP, who has a bit of a dig at the religious levels of reverence afforded to The Beatles – “my favourite albums are the blue one and the red” (nice work Keith) – who depending on your opinion, I find, either are the greatest band known to humanity, or just another sixties pop band. Somehow it is difficult to find people who sit between this (although I’m sure you’ll all tell me otherwise now). See also, by the way, I Hate Your Band.
The generally restrained and mellow(er) album The Fragile was viewed as perhaps as a bit of a disappointment initially by many, and the transition into fan favourite for many people suggests perhaps that this sprawling album really did take a few listens to get into. And the mellow, ambient nature of much of the album was rudely awakened at points by moments of brutal, caustic fury, such as this. A seething, drum’n’bass(‘n’guitars, processed within an inch of their life) attack on vapid celebrity, and legend has it is squarely aimed at Courtney Love (something denied more than once by Trent Reznor, but he never has suggested who else it could be about – the video suggests more overtly that it is).
Boys For Pele
That wasn’t the only song reputedly about Love, either (I’m sure there are others, too). This rather different (to NIN!), harpsichord-led track riffs on poetry while performing a brutal character destruction of an unnamed person, although if you look hard enough there are perhaps enough references to Courtney Love in the oblique lyrics. Even odder was the fact that this track – torn apart and remixed into a monstrous techno-house assault by Armand Van Helden – ended up being Tori Amos’ biggest ever hit. Are there any other artists who have had huge dance hits and released albums on the world’s biggest classical label, I wonder?
Does Your Heart Go Booooooomm
Finally, one my girlfriend adores (and not one I like too much). But still, anything that opens simply repeating “Atari Teenage Riot” can’t be too bad, right? Ok, so it is lo-fi, cheesy electro-indie-pop, but I guess I’ll let them off in that this breezy two-minute tribute celebrates a love of Atari Teenage Riot and their beloved Ramones and the rush of summer, teenage love.